Sally Ride was perhaps best known as the first American woman in space, but that was only one of her accomplishments.
Ride was the only person who served on investigative commissions for the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia accidents, according to NASA. She was also an advocate for improving science education and founded Sally Ride Science. The company's mission is to inspire more girls and young women to go into science, math and technology.
The White House issued a statement calling Ride a "national hero and a powerful role model."
She died Monday at 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
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Editor's note: Montse Cordero is a 17-year-old student from Costa Rica, participating in the Foundation for International Space Education's United Space School, a two-week summer program in Houston. She'll be blogging about her experiences in the program here.
In February, I got an e-mail that I’d been hoping to receive for almost three months. It was from Estrategia Siglo XXI, a Costa Rican nonprofit organization that promotes science and technology, saying I’d earned a scholarship for United Space School in Houston. It made me extremely happy, and it began a long period of waiting for July 22.
In November, I was invited to apply for one of two scholarships to attend United Space School. I’d barely even heard of it, so I went online to find out what it was about, and I fell in love. It's a program that invites teenagers from all over the world to Houston.
Those teens attend lectures on different space-related topics, go on field trips to amazing places such as the Space Center Houston and split into different teams to design a manned mission to Mars. I'm a huge space geek, so I just knew that I had to attend.
But first I had to send in my information to see if I got chosen by Costa Rica's selection committee.